In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Mexican-US Relations

  • Introduction
  • General Overviews
  • Challenges of the 20th and 21st Centuries
  • Interactions during the Programmatic Revolution, 1920–1940

Latin American Studies Mexican-US Relations
John Mason Hart
  • LAST REVIEWED: 30 July 2014
  • LAST MODIFIED: 30 July 2014
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199766581-0119


The multifaceted history of Mexican and US relationships began in the later 18th century with the arrival of Yankee merchants in Tampico, and then in Veracruz and Matamoros. The early business ties then grew in depth and complexity, including war, as the early contacts evolved during the course of the 19th century up to the present. During the Porfiriato (1876–1911) US economic penetration literally overwhelmed Mexican competitors. The Revolution of 1910 brought ever wider and deeper cultural and governmental interactions including interventions by the US armed forces. Today, the magnitude of the US-Mexican relationship, considering immigration, economic, political, cultural and environmental effects, is central to understanding the present and future of each of the two nations.

General Overviews

The last 190 years have witnessed events of enormous importance and unsurpassed complexity. The historiography of US-Mexico relations has often suffered from a decontexualized focus on the two nations in isolation. The more sweeping analysis offered by these texts offer a backdrop intended to solve that problem. Carreno 1961, Cue Canovas 1970, Cline 1963, Langley 1991, and Meyer and Zoraida Vazquez 1982 present comprehensive overviews. Tello and Reynolds 1981, and Cosio Villegas 1961 offer more thematic emphases.

  • Carreno, Alberto Maria. La diplomacia extraordinaria entre Mexico y los estados unidos, 1749–1947. Mexico City: Editorial Jus, 1961.

    This work presents useful texts and treats the otherwise neglected earlier time period.

  • Cue Canovas, Agustin. Los Estados Unidos y el Mexico olvidado. New York: Arno, 1970.

    Offered by one of Mexico’s most important historians of foreign relations, this work offers a sense of Mexican nationalism.

  • Cline, Howard. The United States and Mexico. New York: Atheneum, 1963.

    DOI: 10.4159/harvard.9780674497061

    A classic work offering a comprehensive history and treatment of explosive issues and notations of sources. It was written from an American perspective, but is the most intensive coverage of US-Mexican relations ever written.

  • Cosio Villegas, Daniel. La promocion de las relaciones comerciales entre Mexico y los Estados Unidas de America. Mexico City: Banco Nacional de Comercio Exterior, 1961.

    This work urges a favorable vision of the development of bilateral trade and US investment in the Mexican economy. It anticipates the rationales used thirty years later in favor of the Border Industrialization Program and NAFTA.

  • Langley, Lester. Mexico and the United States: The Fragile Relationship. Boston: Twayne, 1991.

    An outstanding assessment of the ambivalent public feelings that prevail within each nation toward the other.

  • Meyer, Lorenzo, and Josefina Zoraida Vazquez. Mexico frente a Estados Unidos: Un ensayo historico, 1776–1980. Mexico City: El Colegio de Mexico, 1982.

    A highly useful overview by two of Mexico’s leading authorities regarding foreign relations.

  • Schmitt, Carl M. Mexico and the United States, 1821–1973: Conflict and Co-existence. New York: Wiley, 1974.

    Intensly written and reliable, this book was the standard text regarding US-Mexican relations for at least a decade.

  • Tello, Carlos, and Clark Reynolds, eds. Las relaciones Mexico-Estados Unidos. Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Economica, 1981.

    Highly useful, given the inside knowledge provided by Tello, the former head of the Banco de Mexico and sub-secretary of the Mexican treasury department.

back to top

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.

How to Subscribe

Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.